Two election districts is enough

by Jim Boyle

Any thoughts members of the Elk River Area School Board had of adding an election district dissipated when they saw a set of newly proposed election districts.

It would have been a lot more work — and expense  — if they decided to change the number of election districts.

Currently there are two election districts and five at-large positions on the school board. The election districts are generally referred to as a northern district and a southern district.

Under the newly proposed configuration, the vague description will remain true. The only difference is the city of Nowthen will not be included in the more northerly district. The southern election district will continue to contain a finger-like section of Elk River, too.

With the recent census and re-drawing of congressional, legislative, county districts and city wards, the Elk River Area School District must also redraw its lines to even out the populations of election districts.

The School Board had agreed on April 5 to consider adding an election district once the city and county had finished drawing their new wards and districts.

Londa Chambers, the senior secretary for Superintendent Mark Bezek who worked with county and state officials as well as the Minnesota School Boards Association, prepared the new lines, which got immediate approval from school board members.

She explained there was a May 1 deadline to get information into the county for the new districts to be cast in stone and a public hearing is required before that can happen.

Chambers said if the School Board wants to at another point add a seat, it would have to happen at a later date and go to a vote of the public.

After looking at the proposed map, members said they saw no need.

“I don’t see any forces coming out of this proposal (necessitating a change),” said Vice Chairwoman Jane Bunting.

There will be a public hearing at 6 p.m. on April 30 in the board room of the District 728 office.

Public hearing on newly drawn election districts:
When: 6 p.m., April 30, 2012, at the District Offices (815 Highway 10, Elk River).

Purpose: Share preliminary plans for the redistricting of the ISD 728 school board election districts. At the conclusion of the hearing, the School Board will take action.